Monday, August 4, 2008

Anaphylaxis Adventure: Part 1

Your girl's been in a bit of distress lately.  
Here's the story: rough cut.  
For background, I have an extremely severe Anaphylactic allergy to nuts: peanuts, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, and pecans… (all nuts except almonds, which are OK) The allergy was first discovered when, at three years old, I ate a bagel with peanut butter on it and my head swelled up to basketball size.  The allergy was diagnosed and my family learned how to manage it.  My food life involves scrutinizing ingredient lists and questioning restaurants to see if they use peanut oil or use nuts of any kind. I have to be very suspicious of baked goods (much to my chagrin—I am a carb-o-holic). 
As soon as I got to Korea, I learned the words for “peanut” (ddang kkong) and walnut (ho-du) and wheeled a Korean friend to write me out a note that I could show to a restaurant waiter informing them of my allergy.  I buy a lot of western food and try things slowly, relying heavily on fruits, veggies, and Costco.  I avoid bakeries all together (with the exception of bagels from the aforementioned Costco) and any fried food (Chinese, Thai, and that famous Korean fried chicken are all out of the question).  At the request of several friends, had my mother send me an Epi Pen, an easy to use pre-loaded syringe full of Epinephrine, which will save your life if you are in the midst of an anaphylaxis attack.  I had never had to use one before…  Until last Sunday.  

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